1.31.2008

Facing Our Own Mortality

***Downer Alert***
This ain't no cheerful post.
I work in a Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit. I love my job, and most of our patients are quite old. So, although it is sad when they are this sick....it's not the same as when we have very young patients.
Right now, we have a 29 year old female with a subarachnoid hemorrhage (a.k.a. SAH, the most common diagnosis for patients in this unit). (*insert confession: I would include a link here, but I DON'T KNOW HOW. There, I admitted it.)
Her prognosis is grim. She had no health problems except for a recent diagnosis of hypertension, and was not a drug user (MANY of our patients are cocaine users. cocaine = bad. makes your brain bleed.)
Then tonight, we admitted a 27 year old woman, who also has a SAH and an IVH (intraventricular hemorrhage). Twenty-seven! I'm not used to having patients this young in the unit. It's sobering, to say the least. I have to look into their family's faces every time I leave the unit. It's absolutely heart-wrenching.
I look at the 29 year old's mother and know that she will probably outlive her beloved daughter. It pains me to no end to think about that.
And in a bizarre twist.....one of our nurses here knows the 27 year old. They went to high school together. If they were both local, it wouldn't be so odd, but this nurse is a travel nurse and this patient was flown in from out of state.
Needless to say, the nurse is quite shaken up. We face mortality daily, but not usually (in this unit) for people so young, and not people we know. She said "I am facing my own mortality". It happens to everyone, at some point.
Take care of yourselves, people. Not that I don't like you, but I don't want to see you HERE!

5 comments:

krissy said...

Ohhh...I wish there was something they could do! I'm sad with you!!!
It puts it all into perspective though! My sis is a nurse and used to be charge nurse on the oncology floor. There were pure moments of pain for her however, she always remembered the times that even the worst cases walked out of the hospital cancer free!

It's still sad to see such you girls suffering! *sigh*

Alison said...

that is very sad....especially when they are so young. I feel for their parents also!

Thanks for visiting my site and your wonderful comments. Your RAK is perfect..it is the little things that mean so much!! I have said the same thing to my kids about the nice mommies drooling!! I guess we are both very mature!! ;)

The MomBabe said...

Really puts things into perspective when you hear about things like this.


oh, and to make a link? you highlight the word that you want to link, then you click the little icon that looks like a figure 8, and insert the url of the page you want to link. ;)

FUN-ky Mama said...

mombabe, you rock.
Thanks.

Kathryn said...

And you are a nurse! Fabulous! That is another thing we have in common.
Ok, fine, I'm not a nurse. But when the boys are a bit older I'm going back to school for nursing. I love all things medical.